In my home, growing up, I met my first serving leader. I was introduced to him by my grandmother at a very early age and he has been with me ever since. He will never leave me. My life has been blessed by many serving leaders who have helped me become the man I am today. I wonder if the leadership lessons I learned so many years ago still hold up in today’s changing world. Its Easter week and growing up it was always a very special week in our household. To honor him, I would like to share the several critical leadership lessons I learned about Jesus, my original serving leader.
My grandmother shared the first leadership lesson at a very early age. She was a cancer nurse when cancer killed almost everyone that it touched. She taught me that change is inevitable. She would tell me stories about how Jesus came into her patients’ lives and He would help them deal with change. It was an odd lesson to be taught, but she felt it was critical to understand the nature of life and also the event known as death. She would say that there was only one constant in the world she knew and it was Jesus. She wanted me to know what she had learned in her seventy plus years. When you’re an only child and you spend all your time with adults, you learn how short life can be. She taught me that Jesus was timeless and though He helped you deal with change, He himself was changeless. He was not fickle but could provide you with stability in your life. Her experiences in life changed her, she lost a child through suicide and another child was in an iron lung with polio for several years, but throughout this time she never changed the way she looked at the Lord.
The second person who introduced me to Jesus taught me a different lesson about Jesus. He taught me that everything changes, especially our perspectives. He taught me that if you weren’t changing you were dying. He was a strong man who had a different way of seeing the world. I would spend a lifetime learning from him. He was my father and he would share his experience of Jesus from the position of a man who had seen death often in many different forms, from battles in Korea to searching for storm survivors on the lakes. He would return to the Lord with more questions than answers. During different times of his life the answers would change. He believed that serving others was Jesus’ ultimate message. His life was invested in serving the Lord through the people God put into his life.
He was a hard man in an era of hard men. His story reminded me that the men Jesus chose were tough and able men, willing to die for what they believed. He reminded me of the early Christian martyrs that gave up their lives for what they believed. It was not easy to be an early Christian and it should not be easy to be one today. His message of service is what I built my life on. It has given me many opportunities and has provided me with strength in even the most challenging circumstances. It’s easy to see who I am today based on the stories I heard from my father. As he lay on his death bed he asked me a simple question. What one lesson did I learn from him in my life? I told him it was that change happens. There are things that we never understand during our lifetimes but learn to accept there is a greater reason for almost everything. Look for it and you always have inner peace.
The second half of this blog will be posted on Market Leadership Journal on Wednesday. See you there.